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Pamela PaulReading her book, with its captivating mini-histories of Venetian literary salons, families of note and artists in residence, is like attending a gossipy Continental dinner party, in which Martin not only plays the hostess but moonlights as various guests (the garrulous raconteur, the imperious know-it-all, the great-aunt who doesn’t realize her listener hasn’t a clue whom she’s talking about). Though her artfully coiffed prose can run a bit precious and long, for the most part she enlightens and entertains. The best books on Venice, as Martin says, “deftly mix the past with the personal present in a spirit of light scholarship.” Not only does Martin know what she likes, she knows how to serve it.
— The New York Times